Lesson Summary


The Internet is growing to connect to everything we do in our lives. Over the years, it has grown from being a representation of static content, to web 2.0: a place where users interact to a collection of users and "things." In this lesson, the students will conceptualize devices that collect data and send it through the Internet. 


  • Students will understand the development of the Internet.
  • Students will understand how devices communicate on the Internet.
  • Students will imagine/design things (that don't yet exist) that could connect to the Internet.


  1. Getting Started (10 min) - Journal and discussion on devices that use the Internet.
  2. Guided Activities (35 min) - Students explore the "Internet of Things" through videos and readings.
  3. Wrap Up (5 min) - The teacher leads a discussion on class comprehension of the topic.

Learning Objectives

CSP Objectives

Common Core ELA:

  • RST 12.7 - Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media
  • WHST 12.1 - Write arguments on discipline specific content
  • WHST 12.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes
  • WHST 12.6 - Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update writing products
  • WHST 12.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research

Key Concepts

The Internet is an ever-evolving system of increasing complexity. It has evolved from representing static information to providing interactivity of data between users and objects (things).

Essential Questions

  • How can computational models and simulations help generate new understanding and knowledge?
  • What is the Internet, how is it built, and how does it function?
  • What aspects of the Internet’s design and development have helped it scale and flourish?
  • How does computing enhance human communication, interaction, and cognition?
  • How does computing enable innovation?
  • What are some potential beneficial and harmful effects of computing?
  • How do economic, social, and cultural contexts influence innovation and the use of computing?

Teacher Resources

Student computer usage for this lesson is: optional

Students need access to paper for documentation.

Blown to Bits (Abelson, Ledeen, Lewis). Text is free as pdf: http://www.bitsbook.com/

Access to Internet connectivty for these links/videos:

In the Lesson Resources Folder:

  • "Commercial Python Project" Project Description Document
  • "Commercial Python Project Rubric" Rubric for the Commercial Project

Lesson Plan

Getting Started (10 min) - Journal / Discussion

  1. In their journals, ask students to identify as many objects in the room as they can that are connected to the Internet (or that would be more useful if they were connected to the Internet).
  2. Have students share with a neighbor. Then, communicate through a whip-around or a large group discussion. Generate a list of devices. 
  3. Review investigations of Internet usage statistics that the students completed in Lesson 3-1 (particularly useful if the students completed the investigation as homework).

Guided Activities (35 min)

The next three activities are used to generate ideas for examples of "things" that either are connected or could be connected to the Internet. 

Part 1 - Video (5 min)

Show the video (no audio except music) on how an average everyday person uses objects connected to the Internet in our current society: https://www.youtube.com/watch9v=fFqEx--b7hU (3:58)

Summary: A day in the life of the Internet of things shows these things connected to the Internet: cell phone, thermostat in the house, car entry system and radio, car GPS intelligently looking for available parking, parking sensors on the ground using mesh networking (short-range connections to a larger deployment system in a central box), a heart rate monitor with results that can be viewed online in real time, a watch that connects with a cash register/inventory system, a package pickup system that connects with a drone to take the package directly to the customer.

Part 2 - Reading (5 min)

  • Before reading the article, ask students to find the ONE term used in the beginning of the article that many teens would not know (possible answer: ubiquitous)
  • Ask students to read the article: http://www.zdnet.com/the-internet-of-things-outlook-for-2014-everything-connected-and-communicating-7000024930/ (~2.5 pages)
    • See CSP_Unit2_Lesson2_StudentHandout and AnswerKey in the lesson folder for guided questions for students to answer and a teacher's answer key.
    • OR a simpler assignment would be to ask students to read only the introduction of this article (stop at "Big Data"), and answer these 3 questions:
      1. Who coined the term "Internet of Things" and WHEN? Kevin Ashton in 1999
      2. What was the very first "Internet of Things" -- the first "thing" connected to the Internet?  (Hint -- not the refrigerator!) The Coke Machine at Carnegie-Mellon University's Computer Science department
      3. What are three "far-reaching" implications of the "Internet of Things"? (answers will vary)

Part 3 - Video (5 min)

  • Show on of these videos about how data is generated by devices connected online : http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/overview/article/iot_video.html (5:25) 
    Summary: Tons of data has been generated; now it’s instrumented and documented. Billions of people and things are using the Internet: traffic sensors, flow rate monitors, more things on the Internet than people. It's a sea of data. DIKW triangle = data, information, knowledge, wisdom. When you apply intelligence, it transforms from one form to another (data into information, information into knowledge). The ideal day: your laptop knows your schedule so it knows when to wake you, chooses best transportation, preheats bathroom and warms up car, tailored communication on what's happening around you that affects you. If the parts could cooperate, they could make smart decisions about utility usage and other decisions. There are sensors everywhere--underneath your feet, in taxis, trains, and buses. If they communicate, then a serious water blockage could change traffic patterns to allow police to arrive quickly before a disaster strikes.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEsKZGOxNKw (2.25)
    Summary: visual display of how data is collected and visualized.


Part 4 - Discussion (5 min)

Analyze with students in discussion what objects they saw in the previous videos and readings that they use. Were there any objects that they did not think about that are connected to the Internet? Adjust the list as needed. 

Small Group Activity (15 min)

With a partner, imagine a device that might someday be a part of the "Internet of Things," but currently does not exist. An example might be a shoe that has its own wireless acquired IP address and keeps track of how many steps one takes each day. (Note: This may already exist.)

As a small group, the students should submit a document answering the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this device?
  • What data will your device collect?
  • What sensors will it use?
  • Who will make use of the data?
  • What will be the range of values needed to store the data?

This document should also include a sketch of the device.

Wrap Up (5 min)

Students display a thumbs up or thumbs down to this question: Did this lesson help you comprehend the concept of the Internet as an entity that is comprised of both people (users) and objects or machines?


Read Blown to Bits (Pg 303 - 306) -  IP Addresses - stop at "The Key to It All: Passing Packets."

Optional Project for Additional Python Practice ** Note: highly recommended!

The document in the Lesson Resources folder called "Commercial Python Project" is a project designed to give students Python coding practice and allow them to explore more about the "Internet of Things" by creating their own product commercial template. Consider adding the requirement that their program include conditional statements. Extra time will be needed.

The rubric for this project can also be found in the Lesson Resources Folder

Options for Differentiated Instruction

Ask students to think about and document how their selected device may have an impact on our daily lives. Could their be any controversy associated with their device or the use of their device? If so, what is that controversy? Students should document their opinions and/or findings.  

When selecting the pairs, aim for diversity of background, so the students learn how others view technology.

Evidence of Learning

Formative Assessment

With a partner, imagine a device that might someday be part of the Internet of Things, but currently does not exist.

As a group, the students should submit a document answering the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this device?
  • What data will your device collect?
  • What sensors will it use?
  • Who will make use of the data?
  • What will be the range of values needed to store the data?

This document should also include a sketch of the device.

Summative Assessment

How does the Internet effectively connect devices and networks? 

How do devices and networks that make up the Internet communicate?